A Students’ Ethical Dilemma

Ethical Dilemma

Think about a time that YOU faced an ethical dilemma in your life. What was the situation? What choices did you have and what did you ultimately choose? Why did you make that choice?

Think about the ethical dilemma activity we did in class. Your ethical dilemma should be described like those. Use narrative writing strategies to convey the story clearly to your reader.




A Students’ Ethical Dilemma



Student’s Name









Ethical Dilemma

“A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world” is a quote by Albert Camus. According to Sari et al. (2018), “Ethical decision-making is a logical process which involves making the best moral decisions through systematic reasoning in a situation that brings about conflicting choices” (p.1). It often requires a choice between two equally undesirable options and tests a person’s moral character and judgment. In this essay, I will discuss the nature of ethical dilemmas, the factors that contribute to them, and the approaches individuals and organizations can take to resolve them.

The nature of ethical dilemmas stems from the complexity of human values and the multiplicity of interests involved in a given situation (Sari et al., 2018). For example, a healthcare professional may face an ethical dilemma when deciding whether to reveal a patient’s confidential medical information to the family. The congeniality and the patient’s right to privacy. Revealing the information may be necessary to ensure the patient’s well-being or to protect others from harm. Sari et al. (2018) also stated that several factors contribute to ethical dilemmas, including conflicting interests, differing interpretations of ethical principles, and a lack of clarity regarding the course of action that should be taken. Moreover, ethical dilemmas are often compounded by cultural and institutional factors that may influence the individual’s moral judgment. For instance, a corporate executive may face an ethical dilemma when deciding whether to prioritize profits or the well-being of employees, especially when faced with a decision that may negatively impact either. This paper discusses an ethical dilemma whereby I am struggling with a course and considering cheating on an upcoming exam to pass the class or choosing to follow the ethical principle of honesty and integrity.

Ethical Dilemma Situation

As a student, I am faced with the following ethical dilemma: I am struggling with a course and considering cheating on an upcoming exam to pass the class. On one hand, I want to maintain my good academic record and avoid the consequences of failing the course. On the other hand, I know that cheating is against the university’s code of conduct and could result in disciplinary action. Thus, I have to choose whether I am going to cheat to pass the class or if ai is going to follow the ethical principle of honesty and integrity. According to Tulyakul et al. (2020), one should follow the ethical principle of honesty and integrity. I am faced with a dilemma: to follow the ethical principle of honesty and integrity or to prioritize their self-interest. The student must weigh the consequences of each option, including the impact on their future academic and professional opportunities and the potential loss of respect from classmates and the university community. This scenario highlights the importance of considering ethical principles and the possible consequences of one’s actions when faced with a difficult situation.

The Choices I Had and The Choice I Ultimately Chose

Choosing to Cheat

Choosing to cheat is one of the choices I had and it has negative consequences like lower grades, disciplinary action and loss of personal integrity. According to Wenzel (2020), cheating has many negative consequences, like a damaged academic record. Cheating on an exam can result in a lower grade, negatively affecting a student’s academic record and prospects. Disciplinary action is another negative consequence of cheating. Cheating can result in disciplinary action from the university, including reprimand, suspension, or expulsion. Wenzel (2020) also stated that loss of personal integrity is another negative consequence of cheating. A student who cheats is likely to feel a sense of guilt and shame, which can damage their self-esteem and self-worth. A damaged reputation is also another negative consequence of cheating. A student who cheats is likely to be viewed negatively by classmates, instructors, and the university community; This can negatively affect their reputation and future opportunities. Thus, choosing to cheat has many negative consequences like lower grade, disciplinary action and loss of personal integrity.

Choosing to Follow the Ethical Principle of Honesty and Integrity and Its Positive Impacts

I choose to follow the ethical principle of honesty and integrity which are beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy and justice. Unlike cheating, choosing to follow the ethical principle of honesty and integrity has many benefits, which is why I chose it.   According to Neves (2018), “The notion of “integrity” is currently quite common and broadly recognized as complex, mostly due to its recurring and diverse application in various distinct domains such as the physical, psychic or moral, the personal or professional, that of the human being or the totality of beings” (p.1). A student who values honesty and integrity will likely be guided by these principles when faced with an ethical dilemma. They may feel a strong personal responsibility to maintain their moral and ethical standards, even in challenging circumstances. I can also follow the ethical principle of honesty and integrity because of its long-term benefits: Cheating on an exam may provide short-term gains, but it can have significant long-term consequences. For example, a student who cheats may receive a lower grade or face disciplinary action, damaging their academic record and prospects. By acting honestly, students can maintain academic integrity and build a solid foundation for future success. I will also have a sense of accomplishment: A student who completes an exam fairly and honestly can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in their performance; This can boost their confidence and motivation and foster a positive attitude towards learning. Thus, following the ethical principle of honesty and integrity has many positive impacts.


In conclusion, ethical dilemmas are a common and challenging aspect of modern life, and they test our moral character and judgment. The student must weigh the consequences of each option and decide based on their values, beliefs, and priorities. Both options in this ethical dilemma have both positive and negative consequences. Choosing to cheat has many negative effects, while following the ethical principle of honesty and integrity can provide a student with numerous benefits. Some benefits include a sense of personal fulfillment, long-term success, and a positive reputation. By prioritizing these values, students can maintain academic and personal integrity and build a foundation for a successful future. By understanding the nature of ethical dilemmas and taking a structured and informed approach to decision-making, individuals and organizations can find practical solutions to these complex ethical problems.




Patrão Neves, M. D. C. (2018). On (scientific) integrity: conceptual clarification. Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy, 21(2), 181-187.

Sari, D., Baysal, E., Celik, G. G., & Eser, I. (2018). Ethical decision-making levels of nursing students. Pakistan journal of medical sciences, 34(3), 724. 10.12669/pjms.343.14922

Tulyakul, P., & Meepring, S. (2020). Ethical issues of informed consent: Students as participants in faculty research. Global Journal of Health Science, 12(3), 86-90. https://doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v12n3p86

Wenzel, K., & Reinhard, M. A. (2020). Tests and academic cheating: do learning tasks influence cheating by way of negative evaluations? Social Psychology of Education, 23, 721-753.




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